Panzanella is a bread salad made with stale cubed bread, some basic dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and fresh mozzarella. And salt and pepper. There. That’s the recipe, and it comes together beautifully in about 15 minutes.
This is a thick jam-like gravy with a tamarind base, spiced with a mix of roasted powdered pepper and lentils. Perfect over a bed of hot steaming rice, with an accompaniment of vegetables (kootu) or curry.
This is one of the simplest curries, with minimum ingredients and comes together in literally 10 minutes, after prep. Pairs excellent with rotis. I love to just eat it like a soup. The mild tasting, water-laden lauki/doodhi/sorakai is satisfying in its rustic simplicity. Requires no onion, garlic or complicated masalas.
It is known as bottle gourd in English. Cooks very quickly.
This is the ubiquitous stuffing that goes inside the crispy golden folds of dosai (please don’t call it pancakes). Also a popular side dish for pooris, specifically in the southern parts of India, called poori masal. Favorite of almost anyone, it’s a very simple dish to make.
This is one of the best versions of eggplant/brinjal/aubergine made with a special spice mix. Like most children, I wasn’t too fond of eggplant growing up, due to the texture. But my patti got me to eat this in her own special way. After she made this curry, and transferred it to a serving dish, there would be invariably some sticking to the kadai (or maybe she left it on purpose). Anyway, she would add some hot rice to the baanali (that’s what we called the vaanali in our family), add a couple of spoons of ghee, and mix it all together, make balls of the rice shining with the eggplant and the ghee, and go around distributing it. Oh man, that was the best! To this day, I do it every time I make eggplant curry this way, but somehow my memories taste better!